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Going For Chemotherapy - 12 Things You Must Ask Before You Say Yes!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Syed Akram Kothwal 91% (16 ratings)
MBBS, Md - Radiation Oncology
Oncologist, Hyderabad  •  10 years experience
Going For Chemotherapy - 12 Things You Must Ask Before You Say Yes!

Ok, so now that cancer has been diagnosed, and the uncomfortable news that chemotherapy has to be undergone has been put across to the patient, what does a person do? What are his options? Can his/her life ever get back the same meaning and luxury as it had before? These are some of the common queries that would get formed in the mind of the person before undergoing chemotherapy. While chemotherapy itself can be physically daunting, preparing for it and acknowledging it can reduce the hardships and make us less vulnerable. There are also a series of questions to ask the physician before opting for it.

Before that, there is one basic fact that we should acknowledge. It is simply that chemotherapy is not 100% efficient. It has never been, and there are reasons it could never be. The simple fact being that chemotherapy destroys healthy cells along with cancerous cells. It is not selective in killing cancerous cells. The treatment also hampers the immune system to an extent thus making the body prone to a wide variety of infections and diseases. This can inflict serious damage if not properly prepared for. Now let us take a look at some important questions and queries that should be asked to a physician before opting for a chemotherapy treatment.

12 Things you must ask your doctor
1. Why is chemotherapy being recommended for me?
This is the first question to ask and to know why it has been suggested for you instead of other alternative methods.

2. How successful is it for my type of cancer?
Chemotherapy has to be successful or at least minimize the symptoms to an extent. Else there is no reason for you to undergo chemotherapy. Make sure that this aspect is discussed in detail with the physician.

3. What are the side effects?
This is one of the most important queries to be addressed. Chemotherapy is always with side effects - both short term and long term. They have to be addressed before opting for the treatment.

4. What will the treatment involve?
It is mandatory to know the treatment plan and the type of drugs that will be used.

5. What will be the duration of each treatment?
It is important to know the length of each treatment and duration. Some of the treatments have to be done in the hospital, and proper planning needs to be done before each cycle.

6. How many sessions will the chemotherapy treatment consist of?
A key point to be addressed is the number of sessions needed to make the chemotherapy a success.

7. What are the drugs that would be taken?
Knowing the drugs will play a significant role in identifying the disease. Kindly ensure that the physician discusses in detail about the types of drug used.

8. Are there any other drugs that could be used for fewer side effects?
Consult with your physician about your aversions and check if there are other drugs that can minimize the side effects.

9. What would be the other treatment along with the chemotherapy?
Get to know the other treatments that you have to undertake along with chemotherapy. Usually, these types of treatments would be taken to minimize the side effects.

10. Are there any other drugs that are undergoing trials that could be prescribed for me?
This is a general awareness, and since research is always done for improving the treatment, the doctor can advise on the new types of drugs that are available in the market.

11. Is there any alternative treatment available than chemotherapy?
Alternative treatments are mostly rare but you can check across with the physician to get a general awareness.

12. Who is the emergency contact person if I get unwell during treatment?
Have the contact number always with you. There can be some side effects and illness that have to be addressed without losing time when undergoing the treatment.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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